Hike Grand Canyon (7/18/03)

Last updated 7/25/03                                                                                                                                                     Russian translation here

After Vegas, it made the most sense to hit the Grand Canyon and continue our trip eastwards, so we ended up driving to Williams, Arizona where they have a KOA (very nice with lots of friendly people including Alan, a very nice Australian guy with a good sense of humor) that is the "gateway to the Grand Canyon". As for the Canyon itself, it is probably the most beautiful (and certainly largest) hole in the grounds I have ever seen. Brutally hot weather, a magnificent red rocky landscape and condors flying overhead combine to give this place a very mystical feel to it (some rocks appear to shimmer in the distance). Unfortunately, in many cases the air is hazy due to pollution (thanks to all you drivers down in SoCal!), having detrimental effects on visibility in the canyons. However, despite the pollution, we still had pretty nice views during our walks along the canyon rim trail.

A few years ago my parents took my aunt and cousin Priya to the Grand Canyon and mom brought me back a "Hike Grand Canyon" shirt which Daria has since appropriated for her T-shirt collection. Well now she can actually wear the thing without being a hypocrite since we've done *some* hiking in the Canyon. We walked along the Rim Trail (easy paved walk), which offered a spectacular view of the canyon and many nice photo ops. We then walked down along the Bright Angel Trail to the first rest-house, which was about 1.5 miles away. Now this doesn't sound like much, and it really wasn't, but the trail is pretty steep and you decend 1500 (I think) feet during this time. Now this isn't a problem on the way down, and we were able to make pretty good time going down without any difficulties (except for the intense heat). Now going back up is a completely different story.... when we initially started up it was sunny and hot, and although it got a bit overcast toward the end of our hike back up, it was hot and dry the entire time. It took us about 2.5 times longer to go back up (frequent rest stops and stops for water) than it did going down. I saw a few foolish people going down without any water, so a word of advice: do not do that. Even if you don't need any on the way down, you'll certainly want some on the way up!

The hike ended up tiring us out, and also resulted in me pulling some muscle on the front portion of my leg (near the shin). This has been a painful, annoying sprain and it still hurts to this day (7/25/03), though it seems to be getting better (a lot of "Icy Hot" has been applied during this time). Despite the sprain, the hike down on the Bright Angel trail was well worth it, and I'd like to hike down to the Colorado River the next time we visit this place.

We also saw a movie about the Grand Canyon (native peoples and explorers thereof) at the local IMAX theater, and I was greatly impressed both by the quality of the movie (beatiful scenic shots) and the spirit of the early travellers through the Canyon. Trying to map out the area, they went on boats on the Colorado River down at the bottom of the canyon, having no idea what was waiting behind the next corner - roaring whitewaters, treacherous rocks, murderous waterfalls?.. Truly, the thirst for knowledge and adventure turns the world around.


The Grand Canyon       On the South Rim       Another view off the Rim       Crouching Puneet, Hidden Canyon       Grand Canyon, South Rim.

Bright Angel Trail into the Canyon       On the South Rim Trail       Bright Angel Trail       Our boots after the hike (Puneet's on the left)       Condor, the bird of the Canyon